The National Park Service (NPS) South Atlantic-Gulf Regional Director Robert A. Vogel announced the selection of Penelope Del Bene as the new superintendent of Biscayne National Park, located in southern Florida. Del Bene will begin her new assignment in early February.
“Penny is no stranger to Biscayne National Park and brings with her a strong history of resource stewardship,” Vogel said.
Pedro Ramos, the superintendent of Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks who also oversees Biscayne National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve, added, “I look forward to Penny not only leading through the
complex natural resource management issues at the park, but also highlighting the cultural stories that make these parks relevant to our local community.”
Del Bene has served for the past five years as the chief of cultural resources for Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks. In the past year, Del Bene also took over management of the cultural resources program at Biscayne National Park under the combined organization of the South Florida
National Park Service units. Penny has an extensive career of working collaboratively with all park disciplines, stakeholders, partners and the public to balance the preservation of resources with operational needs, visitor use and infrastructure development.
Del Bene previously served for five months as chief of staff for Biscayne
National Park where she spearheaded project planning and compliance for
Hurricane Irma recovery at the park. During that time, Del Bene also led the facility management and interpretation programs at the park during temporary assignments.
“I am honored to serve as the superintendent of Biscayne National Park and look forward to a holistic approach to park management. We have so many opportunities to work collaboratively with our park neighbors and partners
to make preservation and recreation complementary,” said Del Bene. “Personally, I feel like I am returning to my childhood roots. Growing up ocean fishing with my dad and spending time at the beach, I feel a special connection to marine and coastal resources.”
Prior to her current position, Del Bene worked for the Department of Agriculture as a forest heritage program manager and tribal liaison at Shasta Trinity National Forest in California. She has continued to fill the tribal liaison role for the NPS, working and building relationships with local tribes in South Florida.
Del Bene’s fifteen years of federal experience includes multiple positions as an archeologist working at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska, as well as for the U.S. Forest Service in California and one of the busiest Bureau of Land Management energy offices in Wyoming. Her background as an archeologist lends itself as well to Biscayne’s significant maritime cultural resources.
Del Bene is a resident of Homestead with her husband Terry, adult daughter, and their three dogs. An avid visitor of national parks, Del Bene and her family regularly include them on their road trips.